Style

Wednesday 28 September 2016

The beauty panel: Oil slick

We've come a long way from sunbathing in baby oil, but oils still have a place in the sun

Sarah Caden

Published 13/04/2015 | 02:30

Pictured, from left, L'Occitane Immortelle 28 Day Divine Renewal Program; Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil in Honey; Kerastase Elixir Ultime Metamorph'oil; Matrix Oil Wonders Flash Blow Dry Oil; Aveda Beautifying Creme Cleansing Oil
Pictured, from left, L'Occitane Immortelle 28 Day Divine Renewal Program; Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil in Honey; Kerastase Elixir Ultime Metamorph'oil; Matrix Oil Wonders Flash Blow Dry Oil; Aveda Beautifying Creme Cleansing Oil

Our love affair with oils has become an all-season thing. In winter, they provide a boost of moisture and even some insulation, but they have a place in your life as the weather warms, too. We know that it seems counter-intuitive to use something apparently heavy like oil when your layers of make-up and clothes are getting lighter. Our new enthusiasm for oil-based products has seen the cosmetic companies find inventive ways to work them into hair, body and face products that restore and revive without any heavy greasiness.

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Of course, we've long liked a bit of oil on our skins in summer. There was a time in Ireland when our response to a sunny day was to reach for the baby oil. Or even the vegetable oil. We're far from recommending that you fry yourself in the sun, or go around smelling like a chipper. Instead, our summer-oil suggestions range from hair-styling products to body washes, while our top favourite is a real treat to help your skin transition from spring to summer. It's a four-week programme, but well worth it, and if you start now, your skin will be all set for transitioning to tinted moisturiser come May.

Best Overall

L'Occitane Immortelle 28 Day Divine Renewal Program, €102, L'Occitane shops nationwide

By way of justifying the cost, let us say that it might be better value to buy a four-week treatment than a single bottle of expensive oil that you will use only occasionally. Did that work? Either way, consider this box of 28 oil capsules, broken down into four weeks, with a different blend of oils for each week. "The ritual of breaking open the capsules and moving weekly from oil to oil was a treat all by itself," said a panellist. "But I also saw great improvement in the texture and bounce of my skin. And no waste. Yay."

Best Lip Lover

Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil in Honey, €19, Clarins counters nationwide

Chapped lips aren't exclusively the preserve of the winter months. If you are prone to nibbling or gnawing, or if warm weather has an equally dessiccating effect on your lips, then you'll be reaching for the balm all year round. This is a pretty balm, golden but not glimmery, bordering on a lip gloss, but with moisturising benefits. "Delicious and a lovely sunny shade on the lips," one panellist said. "Not as tacky as a gloss, but not waxy like a balm, either."

Best Tress Tamer

Kerastase Elixir Ultime Metamorph'oil, €19.50, selected salons nationwide

Unlike the other hair oil on this page, this product is a pre-shampoo treatment, rather than a styling aid. It's part of a new Elixir Ultime range, which is primarily aimed at thick, unruly hair, but the Metamorph'oil can be used on all hair types. Though it's oil-based, the cream-to-milk formulation works to sort of exfoliate the hair strands, but without drying, in the way that clarifying shampoos can. "I used this twice a week for a month," said a panellist. "My hair really felt the benefit and looked much smoother, softer and more springy."

Best Hair in a Hurry

Matrix Oil Wonders Flash Blow Dry Oil, €16.30, selected salons nationwide

It's counter-intuitive, we accept, that an oil could possibly help to get your hair dry faster, but this does. Really. Based on Moroccan argan oil, a few spritzes of this product on to towel-dried hair speeds up drying time and leaves hair very shiny. But not, we repeat not, looking weighed down with oil. "It smells fabulous and really seems to give that salon-blow-dry bounce and gleam," said one panellist. "And fast, too."

Best Body Balm

Aveda Beautifying Creme Cleansing Oil, €29, Brown Thomas; House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16; Arnotts; selected spas and salons nationwide

The oils in this body wash are olive and safflower - both excellent moisturisers, but inoffensive, too. The fragrance comes from extracts of rosemary, lavender and bergamot, which add up to a natural-smelling effect. The product is creamy at first, but turns slippy from the oils on contact with water. "The fragrance gives the bathroom a spa-like smell," one panellist said. "The oil leaves my skin very soft, but the shower isn't lethally slippy from it."

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